An upset woman waves a finger to reprimand in front of the Cracker Barrel building sign.

Trashed: How You Can Ruin Cracker Barrel Camping

While you’ll find delicious foods and friendly service at most Cracker Barrel locations, you won’t find what nomads love most on their menus.

Cracker Barrel is a popular location for many travelers to park for the night during their adventures. However, like most things, a few bad apples can ruin it for everybody. If you don’t want to be one of those bad apples, we strongly suggest you keep reading.

Today, we’re looking at some of the things ruining Cracker Barrel camping for others. Let’s get started!

An upset woman waves a finger to reprimand in front of the Cracker Barrel building sign.

Can You Stay Overnight in Your RV at Cracker Barrel?

Cracker Barrels provide southern food and southern hospitality to RVers. Many locations allow RVers to stay overnight in their parking lots. You can often find designated RV parking spots that make getting in and out of the parking lot as easy as possible.

However, just because a Cracker Barrel has RV parking spots doesn’t mean that they allow overnight stays. Some cities and areas have strict local ordinances against camping overnight. Make sure you secure permission from a Cracker Barrel manager before getting too comfortable or settling in for the night. 

Looking for more options for a quick overnight stay? Check out these spots where nomads can safely park overnight 😴

Is It OK to Run a Generator at Cracker Barrel?

When it comes to running a generator at a Cracker Barrel, it depends. Some Cracker Barrel locations are near other businesses or residential homes. Running a noisy generator may be disruptive to these individuals.

You don’t want to be a nuisance to those nearby or find yourself in a conflict with one of the restaurant’s neighbors. Use some common sense and be mindful of others.

A travel trailer parked in a parking lot during the winter might need help keeping warm by use of a noisy generator.

If you need to run your generator to stay cool or warm during your stay, you might want to find a nearby campground. You’ll likely need to run your generator the entire time during your stay, which would be very disruptive to those around you.

How You Can Ruin Cracker Barrel Camping

Some travelers take advantage of the southern hospitality that Cracker Barrel offers overnight guests. There are several things guests do that can ruin overnight stays for future guests. Here are a few things everyone staying overnight at Cracker Barrel should avoid.

Full-time RVers discuss the DON’Ts of Cracker Barrel camping.

Not Asking for Permission or Disregarding Signage

No matter what you’ve read online or heard from a friend, getting permission to stay overnight is important. Some campers ignore signage and park anywhere they can fit their rig for the night.

These are often the same people who complain about getting a ticket or a knock on the door in the middle of the night asking them to leave. We strongly recommend calling before you arrive to ensure the location allows overnight stays.

Once you get parked, head inside and ask if you can have a quick conversation with the manager on duty. Introduce yourself and be sure to thank them for the hospitality by supporting their restaurant with a purchase.

Whether you sit down for dinner, a quick bite to eat, or a cup of coffee in the morning, just make sure you throw a few bucks their way. It’s still cheaper than a campground!

Parking Outside of RV Designated Spots

If the Cracker Barrel has designated RV spots, use them. This helps ensure other vehicles can navigate the parking lot and helps avoid any potential accidents.

Make sure your vehicle is contained within the designated parking spot too. This can allow other RVs wanting to stay or grab a bite to eat to do so without any issue.

A sign designated a parking lot space for compact cars only, where you should definitely not park any size RV.

Setting Up Camp

You’re not camping when you’re staying overnight at a Cracker Barrel. Don’t drag out lawn chairs to watch traffic or that Blackstone griddle to make breakfast. Their pancakes are probably better anyway! 

When you’re in a Cracker Barrel parking lot, you’re simply looking for a spot between stays or on the way to your next destination. It’s a parking lot, not a campsite. So don’t treat it like one!

Staying More Than One Night

You should always limit your stays at a Cracker Barrel to a single night. Arrive later and leave as early as possible. If you’re looking for a place to stay more than one night, you will need to find a campground or Boondockers Welcome in the area.

Many local authorities who allow overnight stays will often do so with the understanding that it’s for a single night. This helps avoid nomads establishing camps and taking over a parking lot. It might sound crazy, but it’s a real problem that happens too often.

Leaving Your Trash

Like you were probably told as a child, you need to pick up after yourself. Cracker Barrel is a restaurant with waiters and waitresses who are there to serve food, not clean up after rude and inconsiderate guests leaving messes in their parking lots. Bag all your trash and find a trash can when you stop for fuel on the way to your next stop.

Leaving trash behind is a surefire way for Cracker Barrel to crackdown and stop allowing guests to stay overnight. It’s also one of the main reasons local ordinances are popping up to restrict overnight camping. 

A heap of garbage piled on the the street curb.

Opening Your Holding Tanks

This shouldn’t have to be said, but for some insane reason, this is a problem. Dumping any type of holding tank, including gray water, while staying at Cracker Barrel is completely unacceptable.

You likely wouldn’t want a stranger coming onto your property and dumping gallons of who knows what onto your property, so don’t do it to Cracker Barrel.

Most people outside of the RV community can’t tell the difference between the gray and black water. Regardless, even if your gray water is mostly soap and water, it still travels through the same pipes as your sewage.

You may find yourself in legal issues if the authorities get called. You might have difficulty convincing authorities that you weren’t illegally dumping sewage. Only dump your tanks in approved RV dump stations.

How Do You Find Cracker Barrels That Allow Overnight Parking?

One of the best ways to find Cracker Barrel locations for overnight parking is to download Campendium and iOverlander. These are our go-to resources for finding the best overnight parking spots, including at Cracker Barrel.

However, since Cracker Barrels are often put into mapping software, you can try searching through Google or Apple Maps.

One final option is downloading the Cracker Barrel app. You can easily find the nearest Crack Barrel to your current location and find the contact information. You should always call ahead and verify that you can stay in the parking lot overnight.

An empty parking lot lit up by a single street lamp.

Will Cracker Barrel Camping Last?

In the past, Cracker Barrel camping was readily available, and RVers experienced very few issues during their stays. However, in recent years, we’ve seen a pattern of areas creating restrictions regarding overnight camping.

Many of these restrictions are beyond Cracker Barrel’s control, and they must follow the local ordinances. We hope that individuals in the RV community can do their part and help pick up the slack from the inconsiderate bad apples that are ruining it for everybody else.

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